The Inkatha Freedom Party has raised serious concerns about the absence of several MECs and Members of the ANC during the Human Settlement and Public Works Budget Vote today in the KZN Legislature.
“When the presiding officer announced that it was time for Motions, it was apparent that not a single Cabinet MEC was present except the Human Settlement MEC, Hon Ravi Pillay who was to deliver the Budget and less than twenty ANC ordinary members.
We fail to understand why some MECs failed to attend budget debates. The Legislature today only received apologies from the Premier, Hon Sihle Zikalala, and Hon Sibongiseni Dhlomo. The failure by the MECs to attend budget debates, they are undermining each other and that contributions by members will not be taken into account. Their absence creates a bad impression that they are not working as collective. Their behaviour is an insult to the people of KwaZulu-Natal, moreover the budget allocation of R122 billion will be misused and misdirected since they did not take part-give their valuable contribution in the said debate.
They consistently undermine Legislature Sittings; thus, dignity and the decorum of the House is undermined. They either sending apology or some coming late only to deliver their budgets and leave.
After a meeting involving all leaders of political parties, we agreed that today session should continue as planned provided that a similar incidence would not take place in future.
As members of opposition parties, we demand respect from the presiding officers acting on behalf of the Speaker during committee’s sessions, that they must not treat us as idiots while we like them represent the people of KwaZulu-Natal. This is based on a “nasty” comments made by the presiding officer directed to us when we raised our frustrations regarding the absence of the MECs. This must stop,” said IFP Leader in the KZN Legislature, Mr Blessed Gwala MPL.
“We are accepting the MECs absence begrudgingly and we hope that a precedence is not set for other members of the executive to do likewise. Although we know that MECs have other departmental commitments but they must respect the Legislature sessions irrespective of whether they have other political party commitments.
It is annoying to be bluffed by ANC members of the Legislature during parliamentary session as they opted to attend their party-political activities at the expense of the Legislature session. The ANC should have declared that its members will be deployed to be part of the district conferences throughout the province. Precedence was created in the past that when a political party has a conference the consensus was reached between all political parties represented in the Legislature that political program be postponed for another week.
We call for stronger measures to be taken to ensure that MECs attend meetings and sessions as per the Legislature Programme.
“The paltry performance by MECs today is proof that accountability has not been prioritised under Premier Willies Mchunu and his administration is already showing signs of treating Legislature with contempt. Mr Sihle Zikalala as the leader of the government business has failed dismally to facilitate programmes of the executive and that of the Legislature because if it is was well co-ordinated there would be no conflict of programmes,” concluded Mr Gwala.
Mr Blessed Gwala MPL
IFP Leader in the KZN Legislature
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